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For Educators

About the December 2017 issue

December 2017—Waiting and Welcoming    

The December issue of Pockets takes on a life of its own as we prepare to welcome Jesus once again. We turn to Advent themes such as waiting, hoping, preparing our hearts; and Christmas themes such as sharing love, joy, and peace. This issue should help children begin to understand how Jesus’ birth, God’s incarnation, is made new for them each Advent and Christmas and how this sense of Emmanuel, God with us, guides our lives throughout the year.

Stories:

In “One Star Too Many,” everyone thinks Brook is the perfect big sister to her new, younger stepsister, Ruby. But when the Ruby expects to put her star on top of the Christmas tree, Brook’s patience runs out.

In “The Dinner,” David is unhappy to be missing a perfect day of sledding with his friends because his parents are making him serve dinner at a shelter with them.

In “Tree Frog Trail,” Callie is playing the part of Mary in the Christmas pageant. She hopes her extended family makes it in time to see the pageant, but a young cousin’s arrival upsets her idea of being the perfect Mary.

In “My Christmas-Spirit Tree,” Allison unpacks her patient, helpful Christmas spirit along with her little tree.

In “Mom’s Christmas Magic,” Amelia’s mom has an idea to return peace and gratitude to Amelia and her brothers.

 

Pocketsful of Scripture includes readings from several books, including Isaiah, the Psalms, several of Paul’s letters, and three of the Gospels.

Where in God’s World? looks at Italy.

Special features: This issue includes our Advent calendar and family devotions for the four Sundays of Advent, Christmas Day, and Epiphany.

Coming up:                                                                                                        

January/February 2018—Think about These Things

One of the most common theme suggestions made by members of our Kids’ Advisory Board over the years has been “being positive” or “staying positive.” Our culture seems to value mean-spirited sarcasm over kindness, shouting over listening, and bullying over cooperation. But children long for a different way of being in the world. The words of Philippians 4:8 guide us as we think about this issue: “Whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable…think about these things.” We are not talking about ignoring or glossing over real problems in our own lives or the world. Rather, this issue is about viewing the world, even with all its problems, through the lens of the hope that our faith in a loving God offers. How might this viewpoint impact our lives, our relationships with others, and our communities?

 

March 2018—Jealousy

Jealousy is something we all struggle with at times. Wanting what we don’t have, feeling that others have an easier time, envying someone else’s talent, even resenting the closeness of a friend to someone else—these emotions come naturally to us. Yet we know that they are destructive to our own wellbeing and to our relationships. This issue, which will fall during the Christian season of Lent, should help children realize and be thankful for who they are and what they have. We want to help them learn, as Paul wrote, to be content with whatever they have (see Philippians 4:11) and to want the best for others.

 

April 2018—Listening

We live in a noisy world, so we hear a lot. But is anyone listening? Do we genuinely listen to family and friends, or are we busy thinking about what we’re going to say next, texting, or checking email or social media? Do we make the time and space to listen to God, or are we too busy telling God what we need or want (or too busy to pray at all!)? Do we even notice the sounds of God’s creation—the song of katydids on a summer night, the rustle of leaves on an autumn day? We’re under no illusion about turning back to clock to some time we think was simpler. But we want to help children begin to appreciate the value of truly listening to the world around them, to the people they’re with each day, and—most importantly—to God. In this Easter season, the theme of listening reminds us that the Resurrection is God’s ultimate message to us: My love for you is stronger than anything! How do our lives show that we are listening to that message?

 

mhooper

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